Tybee Post Theater continues its popular Jazz Legends Series with a tribute to Lady Day.
The songs of Billie Holiday are brought to life in "Billie on Tybee!" featuring singer Jane Ogle and the Southern Holiday Jazz Band. Ogle has been performing this show since 2013, and her current band includes Robert Britton Saunders on drums, Marc Chesanow on upright bass and Judy Duva on piano.
Holiday changed jazz music during her career from the 1930s through the '50s with a unique, uncompromising and emotional vocal style, and her influence can still be felt in music today.
"She treated her voice as a solo instrument just like any other musician in the band," says singer Jane Ogle. "She improvised, at the time, in very revolutionary ways that are now largely accepted as what jazz is, or rock is. So, it's still appealing in that way. People appreciate the improvisation of it all."
Unfortunately, much of Holiday's legacy is marred by her tragic life. Holiday's unstable career was plagued by substance abuse and abusive relationships.
"She was a survivor, first and foremost," says Ogle. "She survived an extraordinarily difficult childhood, she survived Jim Crow, she survived a lot of mismanagement by her managers, people who surrounded her professionally in the music business, and she kept fighting on and standing up for her own unique style and her own unique expression.
"I think that's a great standard to go by as a musician," Ogle adds.
The band will perform over 20 Billie Holiday songs during the evening with contextual stories about Holiday's tumultuous life and the rapidly changing music industry peppered throughout.
"There was a lot of dramatic change in the way music was made, the way music was recorded and presented," explains Ogle. "Her career and life were cut short, but there was a tremendous amount of transition in the music business during her lifetime. I think it's interesting to capture some of that."
Through storytelling and captivating performances of some of Holiday's greatest songs, the Southern Holiday Jazz Band will remind audiences why the legendary singer is still one of the greatest and most influential jazz artists in music.
"There's certainly great songwriting behind her music, and her own songwriting was quite amazing, as well, but emotions that came through in the way she sang â€¦" says Ogle. "Some people, because she strayed from the melody that was written on the sheet music, call that wrong. Frankly, if loving what she did with a lyric is wrong, I don't want to be right."
IF YOU GO
What: "Billie on Tybee!" with Jane Ogle and the Southern Holiday Jazz Band
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 3
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave., Tybee Island
Hear Jane Ogle and the Southern Holiday Jazz Band perform "Easy Living" with this article at dosavannah.com.